AN: I don't own Harry Potter or any of these characters. Thank you to Miz636 for the Beta!
Young Ginny Weasley looked around as she stood in the line for the sorting, trying to find her brothers, Hermoine and Harry. She could see the heads of the twins close as they plotted over something or another, and she could see Percy sitting perfectly at the edge of the Gryffindor table. Hermoine was sitting next to a chubby faced young man that she couldn't quite remember the name of, but she couldn't see Ron or Harry anywhere. Surely Ron wouldn't miss her sorting, would he? They had been the best of friends before he left for Hogwarts last year, and when he came back they were still close.
He had told her that she'd make it into Gryffindor no problems, and she was eager to show him that he was right.
She bounced from foot to foot while Professor McGonagall read off the names in front of her. She saw her friend Luna Lovegood get sorted into Ravenclaw and smiled. It was a good house for the dreamy girl, who often talked about things no one else knew. She was very intelligent and Ginny was happy for her friend.
"Ginevra Weasley!" Professor McGonagall called out. Ginny eagerly bounced up onto the stool and crammed the hat on her head, seeing the thumbs up the twins were giving her.
Hrmm isn't this interesting. The first Weasley that I haven't been able to automatically place into Gryffindor in a long long time.
Ginny blinked in surprise. "What?"
Oh yes, you're quite brave, and would be a great fit for the house of lions, but there's something more there. Something… different. There's a thirst to prove yourself, that's for sure. You're ambitious, and want to be known as something other than the first girl Weasley in generations. That thirst… I think, yes, it's the only house that will do. It better be…
Ginny sat stock still on the stool for almost a full minute, as a hush descended amongst the hall. Very slowly, Professor Dumbledore began to clap, the staff and student body eventually following suit. A very stunned Ginny had the hat removed from her head as Professor McGonagall very gently pushed her towards the table bedecked in green and silver.
"You better go join your house now, Miss Weasley."
Ginny barely heard her. In just those few moments, the bright future she had imagined for herself at Hogwarts… friends with Ron, Hermoine and Harry… playing pranks on the Slytherins, joining the house team… it all crumbled into dust.
I was sorted into Slytherin! I can't believe it, the first Weasley in generations to be sorted into a house other than Gryffindor! My whole family is Gryffindor! How can I ever face them now? What will my brothers say? What will Harry Potter say? The other girls keep giving me dirty looks, and I'm so scared. Draco Malfoy has already been by the room and made some comments and I don't know if I can make it through the night. I wonder if they will consider re-sorting?
They won't re-sort me, not even after Mum sent Professor Dumbledore a Howler. The Sorting is final, they say, and I'm stuck as a Slytherin. Ron won't even look at me… I tried to talk to him earlier and he called me an evil snake! Ron was my best friend, Tom, I don't understand it. The other girls in the house just ignore me, and I got lost trying to find the dungeons after classes today. Professor Snape even seems to be angry with me, asking me questions in class that I didn't know the answers to. You're the only friend I have Tom, and I'm scared.
I'm so glad that I have you to talk to. Classes are going ok, but I'm very tired lately. Ron still won't talk to me, although I heard Hermoine and Harry trying to convince him that just because I was put in Slytherin doesn't mean I'm evil. I tried to talk to Fred and George earlier but they were running off to Quidditch practice, and I can't ever seem to find Percy. None of my brothers seem to want me around anymore… Mum sent me a letter telling me that she still loves me but it was a very short letter. Draco Malfoy locked me into a small dungeon earlier today, and when I told Professor Snape he accused me of lying. I think I might take a nap, Tom… thank you for listening.
Halloween was ok, I don't remember much. I think someone splashed red paint on me while I was sleeping and tried to put feathers on me, but they didn't do a very good job. I woke up from a nap covered in red paint and feathers. I don't understand why they would do this to me! I'm so lonely Tom, no one speaks to me in classes or in the halls, and all I have is you.
You'd never believe what happened! Something happened to Mrs Norris and she was PETRIFIED on Halloween. Someone wrote on the walls that the Chamber of Secrets had been opened, and Enemies of the Heir beware. I almost got a detention with Mr Filch because I looked at him funny! That's just not right, I didn't do anything to him or his manky old cat. I hate Hogwarts, Tom! It was supposed to be the best place ever, and now it's terrible, I'm a Slytherin, no one talks to me, my brothers hate me… I want to go home. I hate it here.
Another petrification happened. This time it was a Gryffindor boy named Colin Creevey. Apparently he's a Muggle born, like Ron and Harry's friend Hermoine. She sometimes tries to smile at me in the halls but if Ron catches her he gives her a dirty look and elbows her. I just wish someone would talk to me.
Last night I had a very strange dream. I dreamt I was walking along the hallways hissing. How weird is that?
Professor Lockhart started a dueling club and I went to look at what was happening, even though I shouldn't have been there. No one pays attention to me anyways, so it's easy to sneak into places when people aren't paying attention. Harry spoke in snake language to a snake! The snake was going after a Hufflepuff boy named Justin and Harry hissed at it. The snake stopped and then Professor Snape caused it to disappear. Everyone thinks that Harry is the Heir of Slytherin now.
You're still my only friend Tom. I wish you were real.
Another petrifiction! Remember that boy I told you about, Tom? Oh, and hi, sorry. I'm just so nervous about what's happening! He was petrified! Everyone thinks it was Harry because of the snake incident. I don't know, Harry doesn't seem evil to me. But Tom, it's getting scary. This isn't what my first year was supposed to be like at all.
I wish you were real, so you could give me a hug and tell me it'd be ok. I know you say it'll all work out in the end but I still wish you were here. Maybe if I wish hard enough for Christmas you can be real. Just *poof* like that. Wouldn't that be nice?
I'm having weird dreams again, wandering the halls and hissing. I found feathers in bed with me again this time. I can't believe they're trying to play that prank on me again. I hate it here. Hate hate hate it. I hate Slytherin House. I hate Gryffindor House. I hate my evil git of a brother Ron, and Fred and George because they ignore me, and Percy because he's a big prat, and Harry Potter because he ignores me and Hermoine Granger because she ignores me and I'm just really really tired of being ignored Tom. I HATE IT HERE.
I'm sorry Tom, please don't be mad at me, I don't know what possessed me to throw you away into Moaning Myrtle's toilet. Please forgive me Tom, I don't know why. I promise I'll never let you go again, and I'll write in you whenever I have a chance, you're my only friend Tom and I promise to never let you go ever again. Please forgive me Tom, you're all I have.
Little Ginny Weasley felt the blackness slowly start to lift from her vision, and her eyes fluttered open. She noticed Harry Potter sitting nearby, a sword caked with blood in his hands, and a phoenix sitting on his shoulder. "Are you ok, Ginny?" he asked, his voice tinged with concern.
"H…Harry?" She asked, rather painfully sitting up. Her whole body ached and pounded, and she felt extremely tired and drained.
"Hi." Harry leaned back on his haunches and stood carefully. He offered Ginny the hand that wasn't holding the sword and she took it.
A blinding white light enveloped the two. Fawkes trilled a hopeful song, before bursting into flames. He returned a moment later, Professor Dumbledore hanging onto his tail feathers. The white light remained wrapped around Harry and Ginny for a few moments longer, and deep within the Department of Mysteries, a book opened and the pages turned.
A quill magicked itself out of midair and quickly scribbled. "Soul Bond – Harry James Potter to Ginevera Molly Weasley".
A month later…
Ginny Weasley watched as the sun crested over the horizon, slowly spreading its light and warmth across the patchwork quilt that made up Ottery St Catchpole. She ran a hand through her limp red hair, her eyes dark with the circles of another sleepless night. Her nightmares had become worse and worse, until she finally had given up sleeping all together. Her mother had tried every trick in the book, up to and including taking her to St Mungo's for mind healer therapy but nothing was working. In fact, Ginny had only gotten much worse after the visit to St Mungo's.
The nightmares wouldn't have been so bad if she didn't have Tom Riddle's whispers in her head during the day, as well.
"Ginny?" Her mother's concerned voice came out through the kitchen.
"Here, mum." She murmured, her voice scratchy. She had hardly spoken to anyone around the Burrow since her rescue from the chamber and subsequent trip home.
"More nightmares?" Molly Weasley asked, a bit unnecessarily. Ginny nodded slightly and closed her eyes, sighing.
"I'm so tired, mum." She whispered, a tear trickling down her cheeks. The stoop where she was sitting creaked, and her mother sat beside her, wrapping an arm around her daughter's painfully thin frame. Between the nightmares and the daytime, Ginny was wasting away.
"We'll find the answer Ginny. I promise you."
Harry Potter sat in his bedroom, his once thin frame almost emaciated. Dark circles surrounded his eyes, and he too was suffering from nightmares. He too, it seemed, could hear the whispers of Tom Riddle in his head, neverending. What little food the Dursleys allowed him to have was often times vomited back up. Still, he persisted in attempting to keep his aunt and uncle happy, doing the housework and chores forced upon him until he would collapse. And now, with Aunt Marge coming to the house later today, Harry knew that he'd have little chance for what respite he did get.
Harry closed his eyes, his breath coming in short gasps. He knew he was sick, and he could feel the blackness of unconsciousness swimming around. He just didn't know what the cure was, or how to fix it.
Many miles away, in the headmaster's office of Hogwarts, the alarm tracking Harry's lifeforce began to sound shrilly, forcing its lone occupant out of his seat. Another alarm, the one tracking the wards around the Dursley residence on Privet Drive, began to wail as well. The wards were collapsing, and Harry was dying.
Professor Dumbledore didn't know why.
"Ginny can you go get some eggs from the chickens?" Molly Weasley asked her youngest. Ginny nodded and forced herself up from her sitting position on the back stoop of the Burrow. Once standing, she began to sway, blackness reaching out for her.
The loud thump of a body hitting the wooden stoop alerted Molly to something being terribly, dreadfully wrong. She screamed in horror at the very shallow breaths her daughter was taking, having passed out on the stoop. The breaths were laboured and harsh, and slowing down.
"GINNY!" Molly screamed. She didn't even register the many pairs of feet running to her as she scrambled to get to her daughter.
"Professor Dumbledore! Are you here? There's a gentleman from the Department of Mysteries that needs to speak with you urgently. Professor?"
Professor McGonagall looked inside the headmaster study, noticing the disarray of the objects around the room. It appeared that Dumbledore had left suddenly, the hearth in his office burning brightly. The Unspeakable that had followed Professor McGonagall up to the office looked around in wonder at the portraits of former headmasters and headmistresses, momentarily forgetting what he was here to so eagerly speak to the headmaster about.
"He's not here. Can you leave a message with me?" Professor McGonagall asked, turning to the Unspeakable. She wanted to get him out of the castle as soon as possible in order to send a message to Professor Dumbledore. No doubt he would need assistance. She palmed her wand and a few moments later, a non verbal confundus charm hit the Unspeakable.
"Oh, yes, of course Professor McGonagall." The Unspeakable reached into his robes and rather bemusedly brought out a sealed parchment. "For the headmaster's eyes only, top secret stuff."
"Of course. I'll see that he gets it immediately upon his return." Professor McGonagall took the parchment and placed it on the headmaster's desk, and began to usher the Unspeakable out. The moment the door closed to the headmaster's study, Dumbledore's phoenix patronus appeared. "Call Poppy. Harry Potter very ill. Bringing back to Hogwarts."
Startled, Professor McGonagall reached for the floo powder to floo Madame Pomfrey. The flames turned green just as she prepared to throw the powder in, and the disembodied head of Arthur Weasley appeared. "Minerva! We have a problem, Ginny's very sick. Molly doesn't want to take her to St Mungo's, she's afraid of what will happen if she does." Professor McGonagall nodded, thinking back to the events during the summer.
"Bring her through." She instructed, before casting her own feline patronus. "Tell Madame Pomfrey about Harry Potter and Ginny Weasley coming to the hospital wing. We'll need two beds as soon as possible."
The cat disappeared to deliver its message, and Professor McGonagall eyed the sealed parchment speculatively. Something very strange was happening, and somehow she had the feeling that Harry Potter and Ginny Weasley were at the very centre of it.
Professor Dumbledore stared at the two young children, pale as death, laying in separate beds before him. Their breathing had gotten stronger upon arrival at Hogwarts, but they still looked like they were at Death's Door. He barely looked up as Professor McGonagall walked into the hospital wing, a sealed parchment in her hands.
"While you were getting Harry, this was delivered by an Unspeakable for you." She murmured, placing the parchment in his hands. He nodded tiredly, and broke the seal.
He merely glanced at the letter, until the words "Soul Bond – Harry James Potter to Ginevra Molly Weasley" jumped out at him. Frowning, he looked up first at Professor McGonagall, and then at the two sleeping children. He thought back to the Chamber of Secrets, and how when he had arrived it had seemed like a blinding white light had surrounded the two children.
This soul bond… this changed everything.
Standing up, he cast a non verbal spell pushing the two beds closer together, so that the children were almost touching. Their colour improved slightly and Dumbledore sighed. Such a burden to be placed on young children, especially one such as Harry.
"Minerva, could you please call Arthur and Molly Weasley? We will need to speak to them." With a wave of his wand, Dumbledore gently levitated Ginny Weasley into the same bed as Harry Potter. They grasped one another, their breathing and colouring improving to normal instantly. Satisfied that the two of them would be fine for the time being, Dumbledore began his way to his office. His ears still rung from the Howler that he had received last September when Ginny had been sorted into Slytherin, and he knew he would need to mentally prepare himself for the outburst that was sure to come from a very irate Molly Weasley.
"NO DAUGHTER OF MINE WILL BE SLEEPING IN THE SAME BED AS ANY BOY UNTIL SHE'S MARRIED ALBUS!"
Dumbledore sighed, looking up into the red face of Molly Weasley as she unleashed her anger upon the hapless headmaster. He made a placating gesture which just served to make Molly's face go redder if even possible.
"You will break this bond!" she threatened.
"Mrs Weasley… if I may explain a what little there is about soul bonds?" Dumbledore stood up and conjured a chair for Molly, his expression showing a mixture of sternness and compassion. He couldn't begin to fathom what Molly Weasley was going through, knowing that her not even 12 year old daughter was now 'soul bound' to another, and in essence, as good as married.
Molly sat down in a huff, glaring at Dumbledore. "I will listen, but you will then break this bond!" Her husband, Arthur Weasley, took his wife's hand and began to rub his fingers over the back of it.
"Molly… let Professor Dumbledore explain please." Arthur nodded at Dumbledore.
"Thank you Arthur. Molly, it's entirely possible that yes, I can break the bond. It's relatively new, and I'm fairly certain that Harry and Ginny had fallen ill due to the lack of bond growth. But if I break this bond, it's entirely possible we could lose one, or both of them. It's also possible that while both of them may survive the bond breaking, they'll both be broken."
"What do you mean, broken?" Arthur asked.
"I'm not sure, Arthur. I do believe it might break their minds, or their spirits, or even their souls and leave them incapable of being able to function properly. While I'm sure you'd be more than glad to take care of Ginny if that were the case, Harry's relatives would not be quite so understanding." Dumbledore made a gesture with his wand, and his pensieve came floating out from one of the many cabinets surrounding the room. "I'm about to show you both something that's very important, and very dangerous knowledge to have. I must ask that you consider letting me obliviate you after this knowledge is granted. "
"You're asking us to trust you?!" Molly shouted. "You're the reason our daughter is now bound to Harry! Neither child deserves that!"
"Molly, while I completely accept your anger in the face of what has happened, I would hope that you would at least listen?"
Arthur looked from his wife to Dumbledore and back again. Molly was turning red faced, the desire to let loose at Dumbledore evident on her face. Arthur began to run the back of her hand again, attempting once more to calm her down. "Mollywobbles, it won't hurt to listen." Turning to Dumbledore, he nodded once at the Pensieve. "We can choose to not be obliviated, correct?"
Dumbledore frowned. "There is knowledge contained in this memory that is very dangerous, Arthur. I would not be comfortable should you have complete knowledge of what I'm about to show you. I will have to erase some parts of it. This information is vital as to why I cannot break this bond."
"Show us, then. But if I think your information is rubbish, you can bet you'll be breaking that bond, and you will not be obliviating us!" Molly glared balefully at Dumbledore. The older man nodded, and put his wand tip to his head. A gleaming silver strand of memory trailed out from his wand and fell into the pensieve. Dumbledore prodded it a few times before making a gesture at Arthur and Molly.
"After you." The two Weasleys bent down over the pensieve, and Dumbledore followed. "As you can see, this was many years ago. I was interviewing for a new divination professor, and I had arranged a meeting at the Three Broomsticks."
"That's Trelawney, isn't it?" Molly asked.
"Indeed. I must ask you to be quiet now, Molly, and to listen – both with your heart, and your head." The Weasleys and Dumbledore listened while Trelawney gave her prophecy. Soon, they found themselves back inside the headmaster's study, and Molly's face was pale.
"Harry's the boy, isn't he?"
"He is indeed."
Arthur shook his head. "I can't believe this… and we know he's not gone, especially after Ron and Harry's first year here."
"Exactly. I can't break that bond, Molly, because we need Harry. And I think this is the power that Voldemort knows not."
Molly sat down in the conjured chair, burying her face in her hands. "I…"
Arthur wrapped his arms around his wife and looked up at Dumbledore. "So, Ginny needs to remain in almost constant contact with Harry. How is this going to work if he is living with the muggles?"
At this, Dumbledore smiled slightly. "Due to Harry's extreme illness with his muggle relatives, the protections around his home have begun to waver, and I can no longer guarantee that it's the safest place for him. Thankfully, his status as being bonded with your daughter means they're as good as married, and I can recreate the same wards at the Burrow, if you will have him there. I will be placing these wards based on Ginny, which in turn protects Harry."
Molly and Arthur looked at each other. "Of course we'd welcome him there, he's done so much for us already. What about while they're at school, Albus? They're in different houses!"
"I will consult with the other headmasters and headmistresses. It may be that they will need to simply have their own room, and we will have to create several different types of illusions to help them remain anonymous. I don't want this information getting out, especially with Ginny being sorted into Slytherin. While I do believe that the children should have the opportunity to be children, and while I trust Severus implicitly, I have no desire to let Ginny fall into harm's way." Dumbledore stood and motioned to the door of his study. "That's decision making that can wait. No doubt you wish to see your daughter and her bonded."